Im a celebrity tattooist – heres what its like inking stars like Ed Sheeran

Im a celebrity tattooist – heres what its like inking stars like Ed Sheeran

A man who got his first tattoo at 15 has now inked stars like Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Ruby Rose.

Rhys Gordon, from Sydney, Australia, has been tattooing for 33 years and he believes his best years are yet to come.

Chatting exclusively to the Daily Star, he shared what it’s like tattooing huge celebs and how he started in the industry.

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“Ed Sheeran was a great experience and such a lovely guy. He was holidaying in Australia I had a call from his minder who knew of me through other celebrities,” he shared.

“He was very easygoing and had a fun personality I tattooed a personal design for him on his torso. [He was an] all round good guy and great experience.

“Sam Smith came my way through their bodyguard, whom I’ve tattooed extensively over the years.

“Sam got a small anchor on their wrist. Another cool [person] who was so done to earth.

“I've probably done close to half of Ruby Rose’s tattoos, I did a bog Eagle on Justin Bieber's arm a few years ago, he was quite open and allowed me pretty much free range on design for the space.”

Rhys is such a professional of his craft that he’s never been starstruck by the big names he’s tattooed.

And so far, they’ve always been pleasant to work with.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to tattoo a lot of celebrities over the years and always had great experiences,” he told us.

“I treat them the same as anyone else which they seem to enjoy. They are definitely fun and interesting times that open many doors.

“It's great to tattoo other creatives who are at the top of their game and leave my mark on them so to speak.”

Rhys was 15 when he got his first tattoo, which he says wasn’t too uncommon in the 80s to happen.

He would go with some friends who were getting tattooed every weekend when he was captivated by the tattoo designs that were on display in the studio.

He has been enamoured ever since.

“At 15 I probably looked 11 and the artists asked how old I was, I replied 18. He said, just don’t tell your mum where you got it done and gave me a wink, fully knowing I wasn’t 18,” Rhys said.

“I got an outline of a dragon head on my chest. From a young age, I knew I didn’t want a ‘normal’ life. Somehow tattooing came along and I was captivated by these moving pictures on skin

“I did my first tattoo in 1989 and then got serious in 1990 dedicating every spare moment to learning and being in the tattoo shop.”

Over the years Rhys’s passion for ink has grown and he has gotten a variety of tatts to reflect this.

He now has a full bodysuit and has been tattooed by over 70 artists, some of them being great ink masters in Japan and others monks in a temple in Thailand.

Rhy’s body suit is a mixture of 30-plus-year-old tattoos that take him back to the beginning of his career to current-day pieces.

And he doesn’t regret a single one of them.

“They are like a visual diary of moments in time. I can recall who I was with, where I was living and the stages of my life,” he shared.

“I also love the fact that some of my collection, especially my arms, show I got tattooed way before it became fashionable and accepted.”

Rhys believes that people’s opinions of tattoos are changing but they are still taboo.

He explained: “I personally don’t do any face tattoos, it’s kind of the last taboo with society.

“I also don’t have any myself so if asked I refer people to other artists who have done a lot of this style of tattooing.

“It is also a personal choice for the wearer and whether I agree with it or not, you must respect other people’s choices.

“I look forward to seeing what tattooing evolves into over the coming years ahead. I am humbled and grateful daily to be able to spend my days doing what I love.”


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